W6CO Dstar Update

            Dstar status
THe W6CO dstar system is currently “off-line”. This means that while the repeater still works as a local repeater, approximately the same range as the 441.800 analog system,  the internet features are missing. The gateway computer, the gizmo that ties the  repeater to the internet, is currently on the bench getting upgraded for Dplus G-3.
I am hopeful that the upgrade will be completed in the next couple of weeks and the full system will once again be on-line.
            Dplus G-3. What is it and why do we need it?
To explain the evolutlion we need to go back to the original Dstar concept. One of the more “attractive” features of Dstar is “call sign routing”. Supposedly this permitted a Dstar user anywhere in the world to call another user no matter where he or she was located. The system does his by keeping track of the repeater system  where the operators were last heard. So if you are wandering around Miami or London and I am in Napa and want to talk to you, I don’t need to know what repeater you are using.
By calling you, using call sign routing, my call automatically goes to the repeater where you were last heard. Bad Idea! Here’s why. What if the last place you were heard was in downtown Miami and now you are on your way to Orlando and out of range of the downtown machine?  You won’t hear me call. What if you are still in downtown but now other stations are using the repeater? My call won’t be allowed to interrupt. What if you are still in range of the downtown repeater and it is free? You will hear my call but you will have no idea where I am calling from so how do you return my call? The original concept called for me to simply press one button on my radio and I would instantly have all the right settings to return your call but I had to know that you were calling from a distant location and not from Miami.
Too complicated and confusing and as a result rarely used.
          Enter G3
G3 requires the Dstar radio to have a couple of special features for the new and improved call sign routing to work. These new radios work by connecting them via a special cable to a computer.
The new modes are referred to as “Access Point” and “Terminal Mode”. In effect they are very much like a typical Dstar “hot-spot” except that they don’t require a second Dstar radio to work as is the case with a hot-spot. What they DO require, however is being in the proximity of a G3 enabled repeater and that is what the upgrade is attempting to do.
The ordinary Dstar user, with an older radio, will not have access to the new features and if he or she doesn’t care then they will notice very little difference in the repeater’s sound or  behavior.               more later

Posted in Site News | Leave a comment

Update: California Handheld Com Devices

From Arrl News,  An update concerning the use of handheld communications devices while driving has been issued by the California Legislature.

While not intended to eliminate the use of Ham Radio devices, the wording of the update can easily be misinterpreted to do just that.  Read the update carefully and you may avoid an expensive ticket.  Use of Amateur Radio walkie-talkies or a handheld microphone is no longer guaranteed an exemption.  The ARRL is working on getting clarifications and when they are published circumstances will still depend on interpretation by law enforcement.

Go to the ARRL News tab (above right) to read the entire update.

Posted in Site News | Leave a comment

New link in Member’s Favorites

A new link has been added to the Member’s Favorites: “Find your Lot Size”. When you enter your address you will see a satellite image of your house with the ability to set markers and determine distances. Want to know if you have enough room to put that 80m dipole or that full wave loop? This online tool make the process easy.

Enjoy,

John, WB6V

Posted in Site News | Leave a comment

Amateur Radio Parity Act – an update

Posted in Site News | Leave a comment

News Release

News Release and Invitation
Ham Radio Class
March 4th, 2017

An Invitation
Once again the Benicia Amateur Radio Club and its volunteers will be conducting another One-Day Ham Radio Class. This class is intended for those wishing to get a Tech Ham license, or for existing Techs wishing to upgrade to General.

Conducted multiple times throughout the year, this class has been very well received by the greater Northern California community. We have helped Hams from Shasta to Santa Cruz, the San Joaquin Valley, and from the Peninsula to the Sierra Foothills.

Many of us know people that we’d love to see get into our exciting hobby but have faced opposition because they didn’t have time to study. As we know, many people typically require one to two months to prepare to pass their test.

We have the answer. Earn a license or upgrade in One Day!

Historically over 90% of attendees pass the on-site FCC licensing exam. Our exams are administered by federally accredited Volunteer Examiners (VE’s) immediately at the conclusion of the class. Our proven class pass rate easily exceeds home study results.

How your Club benefits
We have generated a large number of very active Hams who have brought additional participation, dimension and interest to their local clubs and their CERT Teams. We’re seeing our successful attendees now volunteering for On-The-Air activities, Drills, Nets & Public Service Events, and accepting leadership roles on club boards and committees.

Expand the success of your Club and its
Public Service Capabilities

Please Share this email with your club members, friends, family, co-workers and local CERT Teams

We invite all persons interested in obtaining a Ham license – or Techs wishing to upgrade – to enroll in this One-Day class. We have over 30 Facilitators and Accredited VE’s to help deliver this successful class.

One-Day Ham Radio Class

When:              March 4, 2017, 7:30AM-5:00 PM

Where:           Benicia Senior Center, 187 East “L” Street, Benicia, CA 94510

Cost:              $30. Includes all study material, venue, day-long refreshments, handouts, freebies and the federally required exam fee. All instructors, facilitators and VE’s are volunteers.

Access:         Our facility has full handicap access.

Info/Signup: Online at www.BeniciaARC.com. Class size is limited, register promptly.

Questions:   hamradioclass@beniciaarc.com or Ham Class Registrar, Art Mayoff, (925) 212-9953

Posted in Site News | Leave a comment